Senior wide receiver Daniel Passafiume (Louisville, Ky.) set two career records, but the Hanover College football team’s bid for an outright Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title took a blow as the Panthers fell at Manchester University, 35-34, Saturday, Nov. 3, in North Manchester, Ind.
Hanover trailed 35-14 late in the third period, but rallied to pull within 35-34 early in the fourth quarter. Two failed point-after attempts during the comeback and a pair of interceptions in the final three minutes helped end the squad’s six-game winning streak.
Hanover, now 6-3 overall and 6-1 in the HCAC, can earn a share of the league’s crown with a victory at No. 21 Franklin College in the season-finale next week.
Manchester posted its fifth straight win to improve to 5-4 overall and 5-2 in the league.
Passafiume caught nine passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns to set school career records for receiving yards (3,396) and receiving touchdowns (37). (See related story)
Manchester limited Hanover to just 134 yards and forced the Panthers to punt on six consecutive possessions in the first half. The Spartans built a 14-0 lead early in the second period before Hanover finally cracked the scoreboard 40 seconds before the intermission.
Junior quarterback Dexter Britt (Louisville, Ky.) hit Passafiume on a record-tying two-yard touchdown toss to trim the margin in half at 14-7.
The Panthers tied the game at 14-14 in the opening minute of the third quarter. In just three plays and 53 seconds, Britt capped a 70-yard drive with a 31-yard scoring pass to senior wide receiver Shawn Gibson (Indianapolis, Ind.).
Manchester countered with three touchdowns in a six-minute stretch of the third period to eventually surge ahead 35-14 with 2:18 to play in the stanza.
The Panthers, however, mounted a final challenge.
Passafiume collected a five-yard touchdown pass from Britt with 33 seconds left in the third quarter to set the program’s career receiving touchdown mark. The extra point was blocked, but the Panthers crept within 35-20.
Hanover was able to trim the margin to 35-26 three minutes into the fourth quarter. Britt scored on a four-yard run, but the point-after attempt was missed.
Sophomore running back Spencer Corrao (New Albany, Ind.) later banged into the endzone from 17 yards out. Britt followed with a two-point conversion pass to Passafiume to get the Panthers within 35-34 with 9:12 to go in the contest.
Hanover had two chances to potentially take the lead down the stretch.
The Panthers’ defense held Manchester on downs with 4:09 to play. Hanover moved the ball to the Spartans’ 29-yard-line before Britt was picked off by Jake Butler at the four-yard-line to thwart a potential go-head score.
Hanover’s defense forced Manchester to punt on its next possession to give the Panthers the ball with 1:56 left in the game.
Hanover advanced to the Spartans’ 40-yard-line, but Butler, again, intercepted a Britt pass to end the drive and comeback bid.
The Panthers totaled 475 yards in the contest, with 341 coming in the second half.
Britt finished the afternoon 31-of-51 for 325 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Senior wide receiver Dwayne Eubanks (Mitchell, Ind.) posted season highs with nine catches for 136 yards. Gibson added seven receptions for 70 yards with the touchdown.
Corrao paced Hanover’s ground effort with 81 yards on 15 carries, including his team-leading eighth rushing touchdown of the season.
Senior lineman Ajani Jones (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) led Hanover’s defense with a career-high 10 tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble.
Senior linebacker Andy Dalton (Guilford, Ind.) added 10 stops with a sack, while sophomore linebacker Justin Magaw (West Palm Beach, Fla.) had six tackles and his second career interception.
Published Saturday, November 3, 2012